What type or kind of sparring gear should I use when training? This is a common question when you first start training in the martial arts. From Kenpo to Taekwondo most styles will use a foam type of sparring gear. Occasionally you will see Vinyl gear or perhaps even cloth gear but the industry standard is foam sparring gear (like the ones you see here http://www.taekwondosupplies.org/category/tkd-foam-sparring-gear/).
This type of gear will usually last about 1 year if you are sparring hard but still wiping it down after each use. The constant sweat can eat away at the foam so you will want to have a cloth in your gear bag to wipe down the sweat on the gear.
An example of foam gear:
An example of vinyl sparring gear:
Now these are just examples of the punches but they also have head protectors, foot protectors and chest guards. Of course sizing your sparring gear is important too. Especially if you are ordering online. An easy way to size is to try one someone elses gear that is close to your size. Then just order their size in the same brand.